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Larry Nance Jr.’s Improvement Aligns With Winning Blazers Basketball

The summer’s big trade acquisition is beginning to pay dividends.

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers’ blockbuster trade of the offseason to acquire big man Larry Nance Jr. was met with praise from many analysts around the league.

However, as The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor notes, it is only recently that Nance Jr. has begun to make the impact that most thought he would entering this season.

Nance was averaging only 17.2 minutes over his first 11 games while primarily spotting up in the corner. He barely had any involvement in the offense, rarely logged quality touches, and set only 8.6 total picks per game, according to Second Spectrum. Nance barely even played with Dame.

But Nance is now up to 22.8 minutes over his past six games by eating into Cody Zeller’s time. (Zeller should be glued to the bench.) And he’s far more involved in the offense, setting nearly double the screens with 17.2 per game, and finding himself in significantly more situations in which he can be a playmaker.

Those past six games referenced have housed a 4-2 record for the Blazers, including their first road win. Nance Jr. has averaged 10.8 points and 2.0 assists per game over that stretch, well above his average during the first eleven games of the season of 4.7 points and 1.2 assists per game.